Volume. XXXI, No. 27
Sunday, 01 January 2017


From the Pastors Heart: Grace, Gods Grace


The theme for 2017 is “Abundant Grace of God in Living” based on 1 Timothy 1:14.  There are three reasons I chose this particular phrase for the theme.  One, as we confess and profess, we cannot live without the grace of God.  His grace is an absolute necessity for the purpose and existence of our being.  Two, this grace of God is always sufficient, which is found in its abundance.  Three, this grace is closely connected and related to our living, which means that grace we experience and practice is not a theory but a reality.  Christian living is not just a confession of our mouth but a demonstration of the grace of God in daily life.

I wonder if, from the Christian vocabulary, any word is used and uttered more frequently than 'grace'.  There are also many girls whose name is Grace which is an indication of its familiarity or value.  It also means that grace is longed for and desired by everyone.  It is proper for us to define our Christian life by grace.  There are many reasons for it.

First, the very Gospel message is called the Gospel of the grace of God.  We are who we are (Christians) because of the Gospel (1 Peter 1:23-25).  We often associate the Gospel with our salvation, which is true.  Consider Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  However, the Gospel is more than salvation but our life, way of life, the purpose of life, and the ministry itself that we must have.  Paul addressed his farewell message to the Ephesian believers in Acts 20.  He says in Acts 20:24, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”    He spoke to them about the manner of his life among them and his readiness to be bound by afflictions for Christ’s sake.  He was going to be shipped to Rome as a prisoner, but no such dark prospects of his coming days, months and years, deterred him from what he was doing.  Even a fundamental human impulse to preserve his life could not dissuade him from following the Lord.  He, instead, wanted to finish his course of life with joy and also with ministry, which was to testify the Gospel of the grace of God.  We can say that the Gospel journey for Paul began with his conversion and ended with the ministry of the Gospel of the grace of God.  In between, everything was of the grace of God, and he lived a life of grace both in God and toward man.  

Prominent Reformers of the Christian Church, including Martin Luther and John Calvin, were firm believers of the grace of God.  Charles Spurgeon beautifully described the works of such important figures in Church history as follows: “Luther had, as it were, undammed the stream of truth, by breaking down the barriers which had kept back its living waters as in a great reservoir.  But the stream was turbid and carried down with it much which ought to have been left behind.  Then Calvin came, and cast salt into the waters, and purged them, so that there flowed on a purer stream to gladden and refresh souls and quench the thirst of poor lost sinners.”  

Second, on the other hand, we may say that the revelation of the grace of God is the Gospel.  The Gospel in Romans 1:1 is the "gospel of God," for He is its Author.  It is the “Gospel of Christ” in Romans 1:16, for He is its theme.  It is the “Gospel of peace” in Ephesians 6:15, for this is its bestowment.  And at the same time, it is the “Gospel of the grace of God” in Acts 20:24, for this is its source.  Arthur Pink aptly said, “Grace is a truth peculiar to divine revelation.  It is a concept to which the unaided powers of man's mind never rises.  Proof of this is in the fact that where the Bible has not gone, ‘grace’ is unknown.  Very often missionaries have found, when translating the Scriptures into native tongues of the heathen, they were unable to discover a word which in any way corresponds to the Bible word ‘grace’ . . . . Even nature does not teach grace: break her laws and you must suffer the penalty” (The Doctrine of Free Grace – The Puritans’ Views: What is Grace? & Why It’s Such an Abused Doctrine?, Kindle location 328).    

In the same book, Pink explains huge differences between the Law and the Gospel.  It cannot but be true that the Law and the Gospel are different because as John 1:17 says, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.”  The coming of Jesus made everything different.  Consider the value of grace by knowing the differences between the Law and Grace.  “The Law manifested what was in man—sin; grace manifests what is in God—love, mercy.  The Law speaks of what man must do for God; grace tells of what Christ has done for men.  The Law demanded righteousness from men; grace brings righteousness to men. The Law brought out God to men; grace brings in men to God.  The Law sentenced a living man to death; grace brings a dead man to life.  The Law never had a missionary; the Gospel is to be preached to every creature.  The Law makes known the will of God; grace reveals the heart of God! . . . grace, then, is the very opposite of justice.  Justice shows no favor and knows no mercy.  Grace is the reverse of this.  Justice requires that everyone should receive his due; grace bestows on sinners what they are not entitled to—pure charity.  Grace is ‘something for nothing’” (Doctrine of Free Grace, Kindle, 328).  Now the Gospel is a revelation of this wondrous grace of God.

Third, grace works because it has the life and power of God in it.  I must be careful when I associate grace with works.  It is because there is a danger to produce an unhealthy hybrid of grace and works, which will make the grace of God as a kind of system or exactions of law.  We may say that we have grace if we do this and that.  Thus, grace becomes something that is not grace but close to the law again.  What I am trying to say is that grace is real and not a theory.  Thus, it has life and power in it.  It is not too hard to understand.  We are saved by grace.  Grace is an instrument God uses to save us.  Also, grace is all powerful to provide our needs sufficiently.  Thus, in times of trouble, the Lord spoke to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9).  This grace enabled Paul to overcome at least four things at that time: unbelief, infirmities of the flesh, opposition of men, and attacks from Satan.  Probably, Ephesians 2:8-10 is a wonderful example of this.  “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Because we are saved not by works but by grace, we are not to boast of ourselves.  Behind this precious truth, Paul also reveals a purpose of God toward us, God’s workmanship, who are created in Christ Jesus.  We are created in Christ Jesus unto good works.  It is a demonstration of the grace of God in our life.  If I expand it a bit more, I would say that we are not only saved by grace and live by grace in all things, but also we live graciously in all situations, circumstances, events, and relationships.  It also implies that it is possible for us to abuse grace by not doing good works and not living graciously.  

It is my hope and prayer that all of us will experience and demonstrate the grace of God through confession of faith, good works, and a gracious life.

Lovingly,
Your Pastor

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements


*Wishing all Hopefuls & visitors a very Blessed & Spirit-filled New Year.
*Session thanks the kitchen committee & contributors of food & drinks for the Christmas Pot-Bless/Farewell Lunch & those who helped to clean up the dining & kitchen.
*Kitchen Roster - Helpers this week: Dn Sung Hyun Ma, Bros William Song & Phil Surman. Helpers next week: Sisters Amy Han, Clara Ki & Bernadette Ng.
*Sunday School Movie Night next Saturday. Parents, please bring a plate of food for dinner & leave your children for the evening.
*Working Bees required on Sat, 21 & 29 Jan, to help with moving of furniture from Rectory to church building, & from BCSA & Stone Mansion to new premises respectively.
*Providence BPC will have their afternoon service at the home of Pastor David & Sis Susan Weng at 3pm today. If you are able, please attend their worship service & encourage them.


Praise & Thanksgiving

Journey mercies: Rev Alfred & Sis Ruth Ngoma & family (Wagga); & others arriving safely at their destinations.
Visitors & new worshippers.
God’s daily mercy, guidance & blessings.
Improvement in health: Rev George van Buuren.
Christmas Pot-Bless Lunch.
Watchnight Service - for the testimonies.
Rev Alfred & Sis Ruth Ngoma & family.
Cool change after the heat & humidity. 


Prayer Items

Health & God’s healing - Pastor Ki; Dr Gary Cohen (USA), Dr SH Tow (S’pore); Rev George van Buuren; Rev Patrick Tan (S’pore); Grandpa Ki (S’pore); & others in affliction.
Special Prayer: Rev Edward Paauwe (recovery from surgery).
God’s comfort & strength for Mrs Lehia Paauwe.
Healing & guidance for Bro David Paauwe.
iSketch & Tell Ministry: Pr Hai Seng Lim’s ministry in Melbourne.
Cambodia Missions. 
New Life BPC (London) - Dr Carl Martin; God’s guidance & encouragement for Task Force & congregation.
God’s guidance & help in new ministry in Wagga Wagga - Rev Alfred & Sis Ruth Ngoma & family.
Encouragement & God’s guidance to Pastor David Weng & Providence BPC.
God’s guidance for our theological students next year - Dn Sung Hyun Ma & Bro Kevin Low.
Youth & Assistant Pastor for Hope B-P Church.
Journey mercies: All who are travelling.
Health & safety in pregnancy: Sis Tabitha Tan.
Interpreters of sermon into Mandarin.
God’s guidance for settlement of new church on 20 Jan 2017.
Australia - Salvation of Australians & for our politicians to govern this nation with justice & equity.
God’s guidance for Covenant, Ebenezer, Hope & Providence BPCs to form an Australian B-P Presbytery.
Unity of doctrine & fellowship of Australian B-P churches.

 

 

© Hope Bible-Presbyterian Church
PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063